The lady in front of me at the cashier was loudly talking about a bird nest in her yard. She was one of those people that can speak without breathing, where all of the sentences run together and before you know it, it’s been 5 minutes, no one else has had a word in and you still have no idea what the point is.
I was starting to get annoyed when she looked behind her and saw that a line had formed in the midst of her rambling. She was embarrassed, apologized to everyone for her storytelling, “Oh I’m so sorry!” as she quickly ended her tale, grabbed her paper bag and rushed off.
I completely empathized with her embarrassment. I feel like I do stupid things all the time. Lately, it’s been a lot of stupid things in the kitchen, like forgetting to add ingredients or like last weekend, lighting my finger on fire with a sparkler firework (I don't want to talk about it) or what I call “stupid eating”.
The other day I texted John, “Don’t tell anyone, but I totally just bought Doritos, and I ate some, and made a peanut butter + jam sandwich for lunch. I am a teenager again. Send help.”
I hesitate talking about Doritos on here. Or the fact that I crave Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Frosted Flakes, cottage cheese or sour dough toast slathered in melted butter + boysenberry jam or want hot dogs, like all the time. All other meat grosses me out at the moment, but slap a steaming hot kosher dog in front of me? Yes. I’ll take one to go, thanks.
WHO AM I?
I try to mask the junk-food cravings with healthier things, but the last time I checked a carrot just doesn’t taste quite like a nacho cheese chip, similar crunch though.
My last visit to the doctors, the nurse sat me down and asked, “So how are you feeling?” I told her I was fine, that I barfed often but I was fine. I also told her I craved rice, toast and cereal all the time.
“Don’t eat cereal, rice or juice or you WILL get fat.” She said it with such seriousness I had to try hard not to laugh.
“Well, I’m not a big juice drinker at all,” I said, trying to defend my eating habits.
“No cereal. No rice. Cereal is so bad for you. Don’t eat it.” She pointed at me as she said this. "If you have to eat rice, eat brown rice. Don't ever eat white."
I felt like telling her I probably knew more about food and what was good for me than she did, and that I most certainly didn't need a lecture on it, but I kept my mouth shut.
“How about Doritos?” I asked.
She looked at me with a blank stare that said, Are you kidding me?
I laughed for the both of us. Perhaps the only saving grace was that no one was there to see me blush.
After that doctors appointment I made myself a nice avocado and pickle sandwich... with a few Doritos. I swear I've never wanted a Dorito so badly until pregnancy. I feel it's the universe's way of getting back at me for all of those times I wrinkled my nose at the chips and annoyingly talked about how bad they are for you at family picnics. Or it's God's way of humbling me. Which, I'm guessing, parenthood has a funny way of doing that. Humbling you.
And so I've just begun.
Love you friend. xo
simple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
adapted from Baking Illustrated
Carrot cake is personal. I am convinced there are just about as many ways to make carrot cake as there are people in my family (so a lot). This one is friendly and mild. It's like the friend you don't mind going on a road trip with because they don't talk much, but talk just enough and love to stop at all the same places you do. It's without the chunks of pineapples or raisins that my grandmother’s recipe calls for. In fact, it’s the least offensive carrot cake recipe I’ve ever tried. One that is so pleasant and addicting it attracts the non-carrot cake lover. I can’t decide if it’s my favorite carrot cake recipe ever, or my favorite simple carrot cake recipe ever. I’m thinking the latter. I am a little partial to carrot cakes filled with good surprises. The only thing surprising about this one is it is almost entirely made in the food processor, and it’s seriously gets better a day or two after it sits and it's stinking GOOD. This cake has nothing to do with my story really, only that Easter is coming up and I wanted to make a cake with bunny ears on it. So I did. No one around me complained. xo
note: If you don't have a food processor, use a high powered blender - but, I'd shred the carrots by hand...unless you have a vitamix. I've heard there's a shredding feature on those? Also, this cake is fantastic cold, which is how these slices were shot and served.
2 ½ cups / 213g unbleached, all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
⅛ teaspoon cloves, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of salt
1 pound / 450g (7-8 medium sized) carrots, peeled and shredded (yields about 3 cups shredded carrot)
1 ½ cups / 300g sugar
½ cup / 110g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, preferably organic
1 ½ cups / 336g coconut oil, melted and cooled
cream cheese frosting, makes enough to frost one, two layer 8 inch cake. If making the cake in a 9 x 13 pan, cut the frosting recipe in half.
16 ounces (two blocks) / 455g cream cheese, softened but still cool
10 tablespoons (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) / 143g unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups / 300g powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C. Line two 8 inch / 20cm cake pans with parchment and grease with coconut oil OR grease one 13 x 9 inch / 33 x 22cm pan if you don’t want to make a layered cake.
Whisk together flour, salt, spices, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
Grate the carrots with your food processor. Rinse the food processor once the carrots have been grated.
With your food processor blend the eggs and sugars together until foamy - for about 30-45 seconds. Slowly stream the coconut oil into the egg mixture, blending it all together as you go. You should create a thick batter-like emulsion.
Mix the grated carrots into your dry flour mixture until all the carrot pieces are distributed throughout the mixture evenly.
Slowly fold in the egg + sugar + oil mixture into your carrot + flour mixture being careful not to over mix.
Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean. Cake should smell delicious, and appear slightly golden brown on top and not jiggle at all in the center or appear wet. Remember carrot cake is extremely moist, so it’s a little hard to over bake it but so easy to under bake it.
Wait until cake is cool to frost.
To make frosting:
Process all ingredients except for the powdered sugar in your food processor. Once ingredients are blended, add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Chill the frosting for at least 1 hour before frosting your cake. It's a little easier to manage. Frosting can keep up to a week if tightly sealed and chilled.
why is this good for me?
carrots - My grandmother is a repeat story teller. I have most of the stories told about my childhood memorized. One story she frequently retells is the "Remember when I told you if you ate your carrots, your eyes would sparkle?" and apparently I would blink funny after my carrot eating to show her that my eyes were now sparkly. She loves telling that one. I totally plan on using the same trick with my own children. Anyway, carrots are really good for your eyes because they're full of vitamin a. Vitamin a not only promotes heathy eyes, but skin and immune system and reproductive health too. And with a pound of carrots in this cake, I mean, you're bound to get a little vitamin a out of it right? :)